SMITH, Gideon

Bachelor of Science in Botany, PhD Botany, chief directeur Biosystematics Research & Biodiversity Collections, South African National Bio-diversity Institute (SANBI) (South Africa).
Administration, biology (biodiversity, botanic documentation centres, systematics); Africa (Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, Angola), Europe (Portugal)

As plant scientist and institutional manager, Gideon Francois Smith, Ph.D., has held tenured and temporary positions as Chief Director for Research, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Executive Officer at the South African National Biodiversity Institute. He simultaneously held the John Acocks Professorial Chair in Botany at the University of Pretoria. He is at present attached to the Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha [Port Elizabeth]. During a career of more than 40 years Gideon made numerous significant contributions to botanical science, especially plant systematics, in southern Africa and beyond. He is a past President of the International Organization for Succulent Plant Study (IOS), and has held numerous positions on the councils and steering committees of national and international botanical initiatives, including the Species Plantarum-World Flora Project, Global Plants Initiative, International Association for Plant Taxonomy, Southern African Botanical Diversity Network, and the South African Association of Botanists.

Gideon Smith is a prolific author and has authored or co-authored over 1,000 scientific and other papers, as well as more than 50 books. Gideon collaborates freely and easily, and has inspired and worked with scores of emerging and established colleagues from around the world. In recognition of his inspired leadership, training of students, wide-ranging research outputs, and community service he has received more than 15 medals and awards, including the prestigious Cactus d’Or instituted by the late Princess Grace of Monaco in 1978, with the cooperation of the municipality and the IOS.